Chapter Eleven - Luke's Release
I own nothing and no one from canon Star Wars
or Lord of the Rings
Luke had been held prisoner before. Talon Karrde had held him captive on Mrkyr. Exar Kun had trapped his spirit on an alternate plane. An ice creature had even frozen him to the ceiling of his cave to save as a future dinner.
Compared to those places, Elessar’s dungeon was not a bad place. But the probability that he would remain imprisoned on Arda for the rest of his life made it pretty depressing.
Mara had left to plead for his release again. Luke was trying to be calm and strong for her, but in truth he was worried. They were completely cut off from everything and everyone, including the people who could help get Luke free. If Mara could not convince the King that he should be released, they would never leave Arda again.
“Leia, I’m sorry,” he muttered. “I’m so sorry I didn’t listen to Anakin’s warning.”
Talking to his twin when she wasn’t there had long since become a habit for him and although he usually was not aware of it, there was some level of Force connection too. But on Arda, even the unconscious bond between them caused a rough buzzing that grated on his senses.
The loud echoing of the prison door opening caught Luke’s attention. He looked up and saw King Elessar himself stride in. Mara followed behind him, looking shaken. Luke frowned. Something must have happened to upset her this much.
Mara and Elessar stopped in front of Luke’s cell. There were tears in her eyes. “Luke,” she began.
“Silence, Mara,” the King said sharply.
Luke’s spirits sank. They had learned her real name. Now they were as good as lost to the New Republic.
Mara was unusually quiet and stared at the floor. Luke did not like the way she avoided his gaze. He tried to reach out to her, but she had put shields up around her mind. There was no way to get through to her. He frowned. “What’s going on?” he asked.
“Luke Skywalker,” Elessar addressed him. “You are being held in place of your father, Anakin Skywalker, as punishment for his crime of kidnapping in the year 3018 of the Third Age.”
Luke sighed. “May I at least be permitted one question?”
Elessar frowned, but nodded. Luke asked, “I know that kidnapping is a terrible crime. My niece and nephews have been kidnapped before and the ordeal was awful. But how is it a crime worthy of retribution nearly forty years later?”
“Their disappearance brought sorrow into an elven home – a place that should have been only full of joy,” Elessar replied curtly.
“So they were elven children?” Luke asked.
Shaking his head, Elessar said, “They were the children of Aragorn son of Arathorn.”
That was not a name Luke had heard before. “Who was Aragorn son of Arathorn?”
Mara suddenly stiffened. Beside her, King Elessar’s eyes grew distant. “He was a hero. He protected this land.”
“And what would Vader – I mean, Anakin have wanted with his children?”
The King’s eyes hardened again. “An order. His master needed a Hand.”
Luke nearly staggered. Suddenly everything made sense. This was why his wife had closed off her mind to him. He looked at her. “Mara?” he asked softly.
She shocked him even further by taking the King’s hand. “Luke, I’d like you to meet my father, Aragorn Elessar, King of Gondor.”
Luke opened and closed his mouth a few times before he trusted himself to speak. Finally he said, “Your father?”
Mara let the shields down and Luke could feel her conflicted happiness. She nodded. “My ada,” she said.
“Ada,” Luke repeated. Then he grinned. “So you finally found him!”
Mara smiled back. “Thanks to your help.”
Luke shrugged. “I do what I can.”
Mara turned to her father. “I know you want to punish someone for the kidnapping, but Luke only brought me here to search for you.” She stood next to the cell door. “Please. He’s done nothing wrong.”
Elessar truly looked torn. He looked between Luke and Mara and finally sighed. With a wave of his hand, he had two guards at his side. “Open the door,” he said.
The guard had barely moved out of the way before Mara ran to Luke and threw her arms around him. He held her close, relishing the way she felt in his arms. “Try not to get yourself arrested again!” she said.
Luke laughed. “I’ll try.” Once Mara loosened her hold, he turned to the king and bowed. “Thank you, King Elessar. I know that this means a lot to Mara.”
Elessar nodded and suddenly Luke realized how much this man loved his wife. He loved her more than Leia loved Jacen, Jaina, and Anakin. Almost as though Mara reminded him of something else – something long gone. He would have to ask the king about it later.
“We have much to talk about,” Elessar was saying to Mara. “There are people who have not seen you in a long time.” He looked to Luke. “But first I feel that we must move you to a more suitable dwelling.” Then he put his hand to his chest and bowed just slightly. “Please forgive me for your imprisonment.”
Luke shook his head. “It was the will of the Force, your highness.”
“The Force,” Elessar repeated softly. “That’s something that I’ve not heard of in a long time. A long time.”
At his words, Luke was struck with a vivid flashback. With uncanny clarity, he felt as though he were sitting in the Jundland Wastes as he had on that day nineteen long years ago when he had gone out looking for a runaway astromech droid. “Obi-Wan Kenobi,”
the old hermit had said. “Obi-Wan. Now that’s a name I’ve not heard in a long time. A long time.”
Mara was looking at him strangely. “Are you okay?” she asked.
He frowned, but nodded. “I just suddenly remembered someone I haven’t thought of for a while.” It was true. He had not thought of Obi-Wan for many months. “I think it was a vision. Master Yoda taught me that the Force will often show you the past.”
A ripple of surprise came from the king at the mention of the old Jedi master, but he said nothing about it. Instead, he beckoned for Mara and Luke to follow him. “Please come with me. Unless of course you would like to stay in my prison.”
“We will gladly come with you!” Luke said.
The others laughed. Elessar led them up to the street and toward the Citadel. “Wait,” Mara said. “We’re staying there?”
Elessar turned to look at her. “Where else would you stay? You are the daughter of the king, Mara. A princess of Gondor.”
Luke blinked in surprise, but Mara said nothing. She stayed silent until they had been shown to a lavish set of rooms. “My servants are at your disposal, should you need anything,” Elessar said.
“Thank you,” Luke replied.
“I will have some robes brought up for you,” said Elessar, casting a wary glance at their clothes. “There are some matters that I must attend to, but I will call for you later. There is much we need to talk about.” Then he was gone.
Luke watched as Mara sat silently on one of the white carved chairs. “So,” he said. “I married a princess. Guess that puts me on the same level as Han now.”
When she still said nothing, he went to her side. “What’s wrong?”
“I’m not part-Elf,” she finally said.
Luke waited for her to elaborate. She didn’t. “No, you’re not,” he said.
Mara sighed. “The Queen is an Elf. She can’t be my mother.” Then she looked at Luke. “So who is?”
He sat beside her and she leaned heavily against his shoulder. “Your father didn’t say anything?” he asked.
Mara shook her head. “Nothing. Nothing about her or Alar, other than that he and I were kidnapped together.”
Luke smiled softly into her hair. “So Alar was your brother.”
She nodded. Then she twisted her head up to look at him. “Twin brother actually.”
Eyes wide, Luke said, “You’re kidding!”
“Nope.” She sighed. “I just wish I knew who my mother was. Everything seems off.”
A familiar weight settled in Luke’s chest. “I know what you mean,” he said softly.
Suddenly, Mara looked stricken. “Oh Luke, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean – ”
“It’s okay,” he soothed her. “The important thing right now is to find what answers we can here.”
She nodded, but Luke could sense that she wasn’t quite convinced. Then there was nothing to do but wait for the king to return.